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November 15, 2018 | Local, Land

Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Arms Lobby

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Will they cancel the contract or won’t they? In order to understand Ottawa’s decision making process regarding General Dynamics’ massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia one must look closely at industry lobbyists.

While the Trudeau government is under substantial public pressure to rescind the $15 billion Light Armored Vehicle sale, to do so would challenge the company and the broader corporate lobby.

Last week a senior analyst with the GD-financed Canadian Global Affairs Institute boldly defended the LAV sale. "There has been no behavior by the Saudis to warrant canceling this contract", said David Perry to the London Free Press. Perry must have missed the Kingdom’s violence in Yemen, repression in eastern Saudi Arabia and consulate murder in Istanbul.

Two weeks ago Perry told another interviewer that any move to reverse the LAV sale would have dire consequences. "There would be geopolitical implications. There would be a huge number of economic implications, both immediately and in the wider economy… canceling this, I think, would be a big step because as far as I understand the way that we look at arms exports, it would effectively mean that we’ve changed the rules of the game."

Amidst an earlier wave of criticism towards GD’s LAV sale, the Canadian Global Affairs Institute published a paper titled "Canada and Saudi Arabia: A Deeply Flawed but Necessary Partnership" that defended the $15-billion deal. At the time of its 2016 publication at least four of the institute’s "fellows" wrote columns justifying the sale, including an opinion piece by Perry published in the Globe and Mail Report on Business that was headlined "Without foreign sales, Canada’s defense industry would not survive."

Probably Canada’s most prominent foreign policy think tank, Canadian Global Affairs Institute is a recipient of GD’s "generous" donations. Both GD Land Systems and GD Mission Systems are listed among its "supporters" in recent annual reports, but the exact sum they’ve given the institute isn’t public.

The Conference of Defence Associations Institute also openly supports GD’s LAV sale. Representatives of the Ottawa-based lobby/think tank have writtencommentaries justifying the LAV sale and a 2016 analysis concluded that "our own Canadian national interests, economic and strategic, dictate that maintaining profitable political and trade relations with ‘friendly’ countries like Saudi Arabia, including arms sales, is the most rational option in a world of unpleasant choices." Of course, the Conference of Defence Associations Institute also received GD money and its advisory board includes GD Canada’s senior director of strategy and government relations Kelly Williams.

Full article: https://original.antiwar.com/yves_engler/2018/11/13/saudi-arabia-and-the-canadian-arms-lobby/

On the same subject

  • Canadian navy pressing ahead on life extensions for submarines

    January 23, 2019 | Local, Naval

    Canadian navy pressing ahead on life extensions for submarines

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  • Viking to put special missions aircraft on tour - updates on defence industry developments

    July 26, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Viking to put special missions aircraft on tour - updates on defence industry developments

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